Chrome OS Stable Channel Updated To Version 56

The stable channel of Chrome OS has officially hit version 56 and brings over many of the design touches and updated features that have only been available in the beta channel for the past few weeks. For starters, Material Design has a larger presence throughout the entire OS. The ChromeVox assistive tool has been updated in the newest version of Chrome OS, bringing new features that make things a bit simpler. Chrome OS now also has its own Flash Component Updater. Notably, Android app support is still missing for a large crop of Chromebooks that didn't already have it, indicating that Google does not plan to roll it out widely with a given Chrome OS version, but rather do it on a per-device basis. Lastly, the update is not officially out yet for the ASUS Chromebook Flip, the 2015 Chromebook Pixel, and the Acer Chromebook R 11.

The update's design changes make the Material Design present in some of the OS and in the Chrome browser far more pervasive. Elements of the OS that hadn't previously had Material Design overhauls, such as the bottom shelf and system menu, now fully reflect the style, down to the animations. The shelf, for instance, has different animations for opening and closing windows. The other big change is the switch to an updated version of the ChromeVox screen reader tool by default. This means that barely any setup is required to get it up and running, making it far easier for visually impaired folks to set up a brand new Chromebook or use their account on somebody else's device.

Along with all of those changes, a Flash Component Updater is on board to keep the minimal Adobe Flash installation on Chrome OS up to date. All of the latest security patches are, of course, also on board to protect users against all of the latest exploits and bugs. As mentioned above, many Chromebooks due for this update are still missing out on Android app compatibility, and should be expecting that feature to drop independently of a major update, likely before the next major Chrome OS update for most fairly modern Chromebooks.

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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]